Sunday Lunch with… Rebecca Raisin
Posted by Juliet Madison
1. Hi Rebecca, can you tell us about a happy memory from your life that revolved around food?
We’re serious foodies. A couple of years ago we decided to hold our own family Master chef. We picked a cuisine from a country of the host’s choice each month. Each couple had to prepare two dishes which were scored on taste, complexity and presentation. The competition was fierce as everyone vied for the coveted ‘Plat de jour’ perpetual trophy (see photo below). We decorated the tables, and even dressed in theme. There was a sea of colours at the Mexican Master chef, with everyone wearing sombreros, ponchos and fake moustaches. These long languid lunches began to seep slowly into the night, as we watched the kids play, only stopping occasionally to try the next dish. Word filtered down to friends about these all day feasts, and they’d call asking to be included in the next cook-off. It was an enjoyable summer of great food and trying something new, whether you were the one cooking it or tasting it for the first time. We really should start the culinary competition again…
2. Do you have any food-related rituals or routines in your household, such as a specific meal for certain days of the week?
I don’t plan any meals. We usually have an idea for a special dish on the weekend, something complicated or time consuming that we’ll try, but during the week anything goes. I’m a big fan of slow cooking. I like to prepare the meal early, put it in the oven and forget about it! I love winter for this very reason, and enjoy making Coq a vin and Beef bourguignon. Possibly I was French in a past life!
3. What is your favourite…
Drink: White wine, preferably from the Marlborough wine region
Indulgence: Dark chocolate
Meal: Peking duck
4. What’s the most revolting thing you’ve ever eaten?
We cooked a whole pink snapper, stuffed with herbs and butter on Christmas day, and somehow the conversation turned to the eye being a delicacy. I’m usually not adventurous with bizarre food, but I thought I’d try the eye, just in case I was missing out on something truly wonderful. It wasn’t wonderful, and in the end, I couldn’t do it, I had to spit it out in disgust! That was the first and last time I’ll try something ‘exotic’ no matter how many people rave about it!
5. Have you discovered any ingenious ways to hide vegetables in meals for children?
My twins are notoriously bad with vegetables. When they were younger I made frozen yoghurt ice creams and swirled pureed sweet potato and carrot through. Now we bake together and I try and make it a game; when we bake cupcakes I’ll grate carrot into the mix so we can have ‘orange’ cupcakes. Still….they seem to be on to me, and I have to think of other ways to hide them.
6. Is eating out at cafes and restaurants a regular part of your life? Do you have any favourite places you’d like to mention?
We don’t go out as much as we did pre-children, so when we do now we really look forward to it, and appreciate it more. We live in the Swan Valley in Western Australia and are spoilt for choice with all the wineries and restaurants here. My favourite is Sandalford wines. Their menu changes with the season and the food is magnificent, and the wine is great.
7. Do you eat while you write? Are there any particular foods or drinks you always have on hand while writing?
It depends what stage I’m up to in the story I’m writing. I was fumbling around with an outline last week, and found it tedious; I figured maybe a visit to patisserie would help. I hope this doesn’t become a habit!
Joanne Harris, author of Chocolate. I love her magical style of writing. I’ve read all of her books and think she is wonderful. The way she entwines food and cooking into her stories, each so different, but beautifully written, inspires me. I like writing about cooking and everything it entails. You can explore so many paths with evocative scents, and memories that food brings into all of our lives, even if you don’t realise it. The comfort of it, the taste of it, what it reminds you of, the list is endless.
9. Which one of the following types of cooks are you?
- Cooking? What’s that?
- I cook only when I absolutely have to
- I’m an average cook, and stick to my regular meals
- I like to experiment with new recipes regularly, or create my own
- Next season of MasterChef – lookout!
I like to experiment with new recipes regularly, or create my own.
10. Do you have a favourite recipe you’d like to share?
Baked Chicken and chorizo. A Donna Hay recipe. I’ve used her exact ingredients, but I cook it a little differently.
I love this as an easy tasty meal if you’re having friends over and want to mingle instead of being stuck in the kitchen. Again, it’s my idea of a perfect meal, throw it all together and put it in the oven.
1.6 kg chicken pieces
2 chorizo cut into thick chunks
¾ cup of green olives
250 gram cherry tomatoes
8 sprigs oregano
1 lemon cut into wedges
12 garlic cloves whole, skin on
Salt and Pepper
Pre heat the oven to 160 degrees. (The Donna Hay recipe is 220 degrees for 30-35 minutes, but I cook it on a lower temperature for longer)
Place the chicken, chorizo, olives, tomatoes, lemon wedges, garlic cloves, into a tray. Drizzle with oil, salt and pepper, add oregano, and shake paprika over the chicken. Place into the oven. Turn the chicken after 30 minutes. Leave for thirty minutes, then turn so the skin side is up, turn the oven up to 220 and wait for another 15 minutes to crisp up.
I find by cooking it on a lower temperature for longer the chicken falls of the bone, and is just so tasty for something so simple. Serve with salad.
~ About Rebecca:
I’m a mum of twin boys, who are nearly four. I’ve been writing for two years now, and am working on editing and rewriting my first novel, Mexican Kimono. I love writing short stories and have been published in various anthologies around Australia. Like any mum, I’m juggling finding time to write amidst everything else in my life, but the beauty is you can still think of your writing when you’re busy with other things. I have post it notes all over the place, with ideas, and hope one day to be a little more organised!
Find out more about Rebecca online here.
Thanks for being on the blog, Rebecca. It was a pleasure! 🙂
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